Raven’s Run 19

I barely even knew her name, or maybe I didn’t know her name. Raven was too melodramatic to be real.

“Where do you live, Raven.”

“Our original home is near Santa Cruz, but I really grew up in Sacramento.”

“I know both places. I went to college at San Francisco State. I spent a month in Sacramento once as part of my classes.”

“In what?”

“Political science. My friend Will and I both plan to go into the foreign service.”

“The friend who is in France? The one who owns half of this boat?”

“Yes. He was just posted to the consulate in Marseille a couple of months ago. He had to leave the Wahini in Jamaica and fly to Washington for briefings, and then on to his job.”

The ship’s name seemed to amuse her. “And that is why you are sailing alone?”

“Yes.”

“Why the foreign service?”

“It seems exciting, and it provides a chance to travel. I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and never got far from home except for an occasional canoe trip to Canada. Then, when I was in the Army, I spent three years in Germany, and another three months wandering around Europe after I got out. After that, I didn’t want to take a job that would keep me in one place.”

“That’s funny,” she said. “I was just the opposite. When I was little we moved from place to place so much that I would have given anything to settle down and never move again.”

“Because your father was in politics?”

She shook her head. “Before that. He worked for the FBI for ten years. They don’t have that many Chicano agents, so he was always in demand for field jobs.”

“Could that be why you were tossed off that ship? Revenge for something he did, or leverage against him for something he is doing now?”

“No, of course not. He has been out of the FBI for a long time.”

“You think.”

“What?”

“You think he has been out of things, but if he were mixed up with some clandestine operation, he certainly wouldn’t tell you. So you don’t really know.”

#          #          #

The afternoon was fading fast and I had repairs to do. I took another inspection tour of the ship and decided that I could set sail once I repaired the strained backstay. It took most of two hours, then I set the jib and mizzen and hauled in the sea anchor. The mainsail repairs would wait until tomorrow. The wind was still about force seven, and I thought it would be a while before I could set more canvas anyway.

Raven went below, and when she came up again she was wearing Will’s ski parka under his oilskins and looking as if someone had inflated her.

The wind was dying down more quickly than I had anticipated, but the waves were not and it took a quick hand at the wheel to pick our way among them. It was a roller coaster ride. Raven sat across from me with her legs enlaced with mine. Her hair was free and streaming back and she seemed to be having the time of her life. I know I was. more tomorrow

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